We are often living life in the fast lane. All of us. Then, some of us turn to our yoga practice and/or meditation practice and the notion of time slips away. We live in a high tech world, but feel basic earth energy as we pick our first cherries of the summer season. We move forward at frightening speeds, but our hearts beat at a slower pace when we see the bright eyes of the eager-to-learn children proudly sitting at their desks at school in their home village of Varanasi (above!)!
The boys and girls in the photo above warm my heart and make me feel an immense sense of gratitude to Arvind for starting this school. The school is in need of expansion and supplies, so Kelley, Angel, and I are organizing a fundraiser in order to help the village school continue to flourish.
Below is what Kelley wrote:
“Arvind grew up in the same district as the school he has founded. He was without shoes until he was a teenager, often without enough food, in a house of mud bricks with no doors, in a village called, Rangoli. His father was a farmer and former “freedom fighter.” Arvind is an archaeologist by training but he knew no English when he went to university and would have failed out immediately–all the archaeology books were in English– except that he is brilliant (my opinion) and managed with incredible difficulty to study English and learn it while he was learning archaeology. He now has a successful lower middle class living and has four children, three girls and one boy. He sends them all to English medium school in Varanasi city where he currently lives. He has seen what an advantage it is for them to go to a good school and he wants to help other village children prosper.
Two years ago he started an English medium school that is 19 km outside of Varanasi, in a village called, Singhitali, near Ramnagar, for children from poor rural families who can not afford to go to schools that teach in English. When the British left India, many villages refused to teach their children in English and such schools are rare in the rural areas. Without English medium education, children have almost no hope of succeeding to the level of college or of helping their families get out of the cycle of poverty.
The school provides tuition, free uniforms, and sweaters. The children have to buy their own shoes and supplies but books, notebooks, and pens are given to those who can’t afford them. Arvind and his brother went all around the area talking to families to encourage them to send their daughters to the school, as well as their sons. On the first day they had more than 200 children show up! Now there are 263 of all castes, ages 4-13. Many of them are Dalit. When I was at the school in January the classrooms were extremely crowded, some of them had no roof, and there was no place for the children to assemble let alone play at recess. There are 8 teachers and one principle who is Arvind’s brother. Arvind’s wife, Renu, volunteers with a lot of the administration as does Arvind. Umesh and I, and a handful of their friends, have made substantial donations, but Fran Gallo, Angel Nelson and I would like to do more.We would like to eventually raise enough money to purchase a more appropriate building, or get it built. We have other ideas too but are taking this one step at a time. I am an educator myself and I love India and the culture of that area, so it means a lot to me that I could make a difference to these children and their families.”
Readers, if you are interested in attending the fundraising event to be held in Shoreline, Washington at Kelley’s on Tuesday, July 23rd OR if you would like to contribute to Arvind’s school, please click on the link below:
Fundraiser for Arvind’s school: (sorry, you must cut and paste since I can’t figure out how to use “link” function in the iPad version of WordPress).
You are invited to the following event:
FUNDRAISER FOR VILLAGE SCHOOL IN VARANASI INDIA: PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION WITH DR. ARVIND SINGH
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT)
Home of Kelley & Jack McHenry
1240 NW Richmond Beach Rd
Shoreline, WA 98177
This event is a fundraiser for Arvind’s school, particularly for promoting educational opportunity for girls. It begins at 5:00 with yoga led by Fran Gallo, followed by a chicken curry dinner with rice, vegetables and dhal. Arvind Singh will then talk about rural education in North India, the status of girls education in India, and, his own life experience. All proceeds go to fund the village school.
We hope you can make it!
Kelley McHenry, Fran Gallo & Angel Nelson